Home » The Answer to the Question: Why Does Your Dentist Number Your Teeth?

The Answer to the Question: Why Does Your Dentist Number Your Teeth?

by jakeslessor

While we all may have wondered this at some point, most of us aren’t aware of the actual answer to the question. As it turns out, there are three reasons your dentist teeth by number, and they can all be found in the chart below. We’ll also look at the history behind how and why dentists started numbering teeth in the first place.


What does it mean when a dentist numbers your teeth?

When a dentist number your teeth, they are simply numbering your teeth in relation to their position on each arch. The first tooth on each arch is always number one; after that, it’s not necessarily one-to-one. The reason for numbering teeth is so that, if you need a crown or other work done on a particular tooth, you know exactly which tooth it will be. You wouldn’t want two crowns put on Tooth #3, would you? As with everything dental, there are lots of specifics and variations. If you want more info about how dentists number teeth, talk to your dentist! They can give you all sorts of details—and they might have some photos too!


Brushing guidelines by number group

Brush, floss and rinse correctly. Brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day for two minutes at a time, for example, can prevent cavities. Daily flossing may help reduce gum disease. And rinsing is important because bacteria from food particles could lead to tooth decay or other problems if left on your teeth or in your mouth after eating. To make sure you’re doing all of these things correctly, refer to brushing guidelines by number group and consider scheduling an appointment with your dentist for additional advice on healthy teeth maintenance.


How do dentists number your teeth?

Every year, dentists in America number tens of millions of teeth. It’s a common practice that many people don’t think about, but it all starts with that little number on your dental x-ray. When you get an x-ray at your dentist, a standard procedure is to make sure you can identify each tooth by its name. Names like mandibular central incisor and maxillary lateral incisor don’t mean much unless you’re a dentist or dental student. That’s why we have numbers. In order for dentists and hygienists across America to communicate effectively about patients and treatment plans, every single tooth has a unique ID number assigned by us dentists.


Are there any risks associated with numbering teeth?

If your dentist numbers your teeth, you’re not alone. In fact, it’s a practice that is in place in many dentistry offices around America and also one that has caused some alarm among patients. Fortunately, there are no documented risks associated with numbering teeth. While tooth numbering can be performed on both adult and child patients, some people believe that labeling baby teeth is an unnecessary practice and should not be done at all.


Numbered tooth charts

The reason that your dentist numbers your teeth is because human teeth names can be somewhat confusing. Teeth are located in various places within each quadrant of our mouths and as such, they can often share similar names. Confusion with numbering systems from one dentist office to another makes it even harder for patients to understand what their dentist is talking about when discussing dental health issues and treatment plans. The solution for simplifying things for patients was for dentists to establish a standard numbering system for teeth. Today, when you have a check-up with your dentist, he or she will likely use a tooth chart containing detailed information about every tooth in your mouth. In most cases, these charts are color coded and easy to read at a glance.

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